World Cup viewing at workplace could increase productivity

Dec 19 2017, 10:59 am

Taking time off of work to watch the World Cup may prove advantageous for some employers.

During the 2010 South Africa World Cup, an average of 95 million people watched each match, according to a survey conducted by InsideView, a sales and marketing intelligence firm.

More than half of those viewers indicated they planned to take some time off from work to watch the games.

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup underway, it may pay off to have time dedicated for World Cup during working hours to increase productivity.

“Although employers’ first reaction may be that employees are working less hours and thus will be less productive, this does not necessarily have to be the case,” says Lieke ten Brummelhuis, assistant professor at the Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University.

Brummelhuis says research shows that taking breaks during workdays, not necessarily for a full match, particularly breaks where employees can do a fun activity over which they feel in control, helps motivate them to be work harder after the break ends.

“Your staff can take their lunch and watch [the game at the workplace] so they’re not walking to a pub and spending a couple of hours [there], which helps them enjoy their day more,” says David Hannah, an associate professor at the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University.

Watching the World Cup can also prove effective to relief work-related stress since it allows employees to recharge after a game. That being said, this may not be feasible in all situations.

For instance, watching the major sporting events like the Olympics or the World Cup during critical work time could lead to a higher volume of work and tighter deadlines, which will put more pressure on the employee.

Not to mention that there are professions where committing time to the World Cup is tricky to organize.

“Many people will prefer a surgeon to be in time for an emergency surgery instead of delaying the surgery because of a World Cup game,” says Brummelhuis.

In other organizations or companies, watching the game with co-workers may foster bonding between colleagues as they share the ups or downs of their favourite teams.

“It would not surprise me if in the end, the benefits – employees are in a better mood, grateful, and rested – outweigh the lost work time of 105 minutes,” says Brummelhuis.

Watching the World Cup, though, varies from one region to another. For example, in areas where football or the World Cup is considered a significant event for the whole nation, it is common for employers to grant time off from or during work to watch the games, like many countries in Europe and Latin America.

“[The World Cup] has a slight effect on activity in a place like Vancouver, but it’ll have an enormous effect on soccer-mad places,” says Hannah.

The Dutch are extremely passionate about the World Cup, adds Brummelhuis. “[Most] Dutch employees will watch the game if possible in some way, no matter what the formal rules are.”‘


Featured Image: World Cup via Shutterstock

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